Generation Z Arrives with a Bang
It is intolerable to ignore what has gone on this week. In the heartbreaking reality of that high school in Florida, it seems pretty much impossible to find even a sliver of silver lining, much less marketing wisdom. And yet. For anyone who watched the coverage, there were moments of genuine awe: When the students spoke to the cameras.
One young journalism student was particularly poignant, having turned on his cellphone recorder to interview his closeted colleagues while they were all still under attack. Articulate, driven and clear-headed, he spoke from the frontlines later with no patience for political dithering. He was not alone, child after child looked to the camera, looked into our eyes and spoke truth to impotence.
Beyond their words, which were compelling, in aggregate they made a bold impression. Their presence of mind. Their sure-footedness and ability to articulate their opinions. Their confidence in their thinking and reasonableness of their call to action. Their impatience with ‘business as usual’ political thinking.
This is our genuine introduction to Generation Z: Estimated by Forbes to be 25 percent of the U.S. population. We ignore their force at our own peril. Brands and companies: Watch out. For all the wringing of hands and rending of garments we’ve weathered about screen-addiction as this cohort comes of age, we witnessed a revelation in the aftermath of this continuing slow-motion, violent vendetta against their generation. Eighteen school shootings in 2018 alone.
They have grown up with one eye on the school ‘code red’ alarm and one eye on their smart phone. They know how to talk to cameras. They know how to frame their thoughts. They have a voice and the agency which comes with it. I believe they have the impatience which comes with it too. I am oddly encouraged in the midst of mayhem.